When it comes to music, everyone has their own taste. Some people swear by modern, more rhythmic registers. But there are also those who prefer to be lulled by the sweetness and authentic soul of opera. It has a touch that is both elegant and romantic.
Actually, opera is much more than music. It is a particularly rich artistic work. With this article, I propose you to discover this art by starting with its history.
Opera and its history
According to history, Western opera originated in Florence, Italy in the 17th century. Italian madrigals, masquerades and court ballets are among its ancestors. The first opera was written by Jacopo Peri in Mantua in 1598 and was entitled Dafne. In 1607, L’Orfeo by Claudio Monterverdi was premiered.
The opera made its debut in France in 1645 thanks to Cardinal Mazarin. The latter brought a troupe from Venice to the country and performed La finta Pazza at the court of Louis XIV. The performance was a great success. Sixteen years later, the first French opera saw the light of day.
Entitled Pomone, it was a work by Robert Cambert and Pierre Perrin. At the beginning of the 17th century, the first opera school opened its doors in France thanks to Louis XIV’s musician, Jean-Baptiste Lully. It was called lyrical tragedy. Lully’s compositions were a true source of inspiration for renowned foreign composers such as Piccinni, Gluck and Jean-Christian Bach.
In the 19th century, opera was at the heart of success in France and in other European countries such as Germany and Italy.
What is opera?
For many people, it’s a musical genre like any other. Yet it is a particularly rich art form. In reality, opera is a theatrical piece performed to music. It brings together several artistic disciplines including singing, poetry, music, dance, decoration and costumes.
Moreover, according to the ethymology of the word, the term opera comes from the Italian word meaning “work”. To take this into account, it is not a style of music, but rather a musical and theatrical work. In general, opera tells a drama or a tragedy. Like a play, it is divided into several acts.
Its difference with theater is that the characters are played by singers and not actors. Thus, the texts are not recited, but sung. The singers are accompanied by a symphonic, philharmonic or chamber orchestra, a choir and sometimes classical dancers.
Note that the show takes place in an establishment called an opera house, which stands out for its luxurious and elegant decor. Sometimes, the performance takes place without any specific staging or costumes. This is called a concert version of an opera.
What is classical music?
Scholarly music, great music or serious music…Classical music has many names. In general, this expression is used to indicate an elitist musical style qualified elegant and complex. But in musicology, it is a term that represents the music of the classical period and it appeared in the heart of the 18th century.
Classical music comes in many forms. Among them is symphonic music or concertante music. It is performed by several musicians who play a variety of instruments including piano, violin and cello. There is also chamber music. It differs from symphonic music in terms of the number of instrumentalists, which is much smaller.
There is also music for baroque orchestras, which lies between symphonic music and chamber music. Finally, there is music for solo instrument. It can be violin, piano, cello or flute. Note that classical music can also be associated with voices.
Opera, a classical music?
As stated from the beginning, opera is considered a musical genre. This is not completely untrue. In fact, it is a form of classical music. Be aware that every song performed in an opera belongs to this musical register. The works generally belong to classical music composers such as Verdi, Mozart, Wagner and Puccini.
In addition to all this, singers have an opera voice or lyrical voice that stands out for its power. For information, they do not use a microphone. To top it all off, it should be remembered that during the performance, it is a symphony orchestra that accompanies the singers.
It should be noted that many of the songs performed during an opera are taken up by lyric singers during a recital. Among others, we should mention ” Habanera ” in Bizet’s Carmen, ” Sempre libera ” in Verdi’s La Traviata and ” Nessun Dorma ” in Puccini’s Turandot. All this suggests that opera is indeed classical music.
The different types of opera
Opera comes in many forms. It all depends on the character of the story being told. It can be a comedy or a drama. It should also be noted that this artistic work has not ceased to evolve.